Did you know Florida has a ‘poll tax’? Yes. For the state’s ex-felons–and a discussion takes place Friday

The purpose? To push back against a new state law, with all the right voices in the room

WEST PALM BEACH – Within a year of the passage of Amendment 4 to the state Constitution, state officials had undermined it by creating a poll tax for ex-felons.

That’s the view of several federal lawsuits that have been filed against the state–and of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity in Palm Beach County (PBC), which is hosting a panel discussion and community forum on the topic Friday.

A Hopeless People is a Voteless People: Amendment 4; Now What? will be held from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, October 18, 2019, at the West Palm Beach Marriott, located at 1001 Okeechobee Boulevard. The event is free and open to the public.

Among those who will join the discussion:

  • State Senator Bobby Powell (District 30)
  • State Representative Al Jacquet (District 88), who has filed a bill for the 2020 Legislative Session, HB 6007, to push back against the law. Learn more here.
  • State Attorney Dave Aronberg
  • Public Defender Cary Haughwout
  • Neil Volz, deputy director of the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition in Orlando
  • Ken Thomas, president of the PBC chapter of the League of Women Voters of Florida
  • Oswald Newbold, a local ex-felon who registered to vote after Amendment 4’s passage and voted in the March 2019 Municipal Elections, the first time in nearly 30 years
  • Patrick Franklin, President & CEO of the Urban League of Palm Beach County, will serve as moderator.

The event’s purpose: to educate, equip and organize community leaders to register ex-felons anyway, as the fight against the law continues.

“Ex-felons have all kinds of stuff to deal with when they get back home–housing, jobs, family issues, even trying to get a driver’s license–so voting may not be at the top of their lists,” said Alfred J. Fields, president of the nonprofit Alpha Educational Foundation. “But the key is this: whenever they are ready to vote, that right needs to be there.”

The discussion will occur during the 2019 District Conference of the Florida Federation of Alpha Chapters (FFAC), October 18-20, and is considered a Call to Action for Social Justice by the fraternity.

Media Contact: Alfred J. Fields, President
Alpha Educational Foundation